Oakland Raiders: The 10 Most Colorful Characters in Raiders History

Jared FeldmanContributor IIIApril 7, 2011

Oakland Raiders: The 10 Most Colorful Characters in Raiders History

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Fans of the Oakland Raiders look on against of the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 7, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    It's tough to argue against the fact that the Raiders are certainly the most colorful of all football teams. Despite wearing silver and black, the menagerie of characters to be associated with Raiders is one to be honored, or at least admired, okay it's just entertaining. From the Raiders inception in 1960 to their rise from mediocrity in 2010, the team has collected its number of unique personalities.

    I'll give you a hint, both Al Davis and John Madden will make this list, where you ask? Lets take a look.

10. Bill King

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    Radio Broadcaster Bill King could affectionately be known as the "King" of East Bay broadcasting. The Renaissance man for a time, was lead play by play man for the Raiders, A's and Warriors. When the Raiders relocated to LA he would even commute on weekends to make the call.

    He was behind the mic for the Holy Roller game, and anointed George Blanda "King of the world" for throwing for a touchdown and kicking the winning field goal, as time ran out in a 1970 game.

    His eccentricities weren't just contained to the grid iron as he actually managed to pick up a technical foul at a Warriors game. He was charged with swearing at the referee during a game. He is believed to be the only broadcaster ever to receive an infraction during a professional sports game.

    Al Davis described him best at a memorial service. In 1966 at Raider training camp Davis said of King. "You've got to be kidding me!, What could this little fella possibly know about football?" Evidently, a whole lot.

    After his passing, the San Francisco Chronicle released a statement regarding King, "King was believed to be 78. The lack of knowledge of his exact age was one of the many quirks that made King one of the great characters in Bay Area sports."

9. Sebastian Janikowski

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders moves for failed fake field goal attempt against Maurice Legget #31 of the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game on November 30, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Sebastian Janikowski was born the son of of the professional soccer player in Poland. But he plays more like a pro rugby player at times. Sea-bass's style of play is more reminiscent of a rugby player or soccer hooligan rather than a placekicker. It's rare to find a kicker who savers a long kick off return simply for the chance to make a bone crushing open field tackle, rather than the game winning field goal.

    His antics extend beyond the football field as a series of off field incidents has elevated his persona. In 2000 he was acquitted of bribery after offering to pay a friends fine, eight day's later he was arrested and later acquitted under suspicion of felony drug possession. In 2002 he managed to limit himself to a DUI and three years probation. And finally in 2003 he manged to get arrested for a fight in a restaurant. Rugby player indeed.

    He holds the record for the longest field goal ever attempted at 76 yards and might have had a chance to knock it through if the wind favored him.

    He started as a soccer player, became a kicker, and remains a bit a card, but remains a fan favorite for the Raiders.

8. Tom Cable

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders walks the sidelines during their game against the St. Louis Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Image
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Tom Cable has a temper. Tom Cable should have learned you don't solve your problem with hitting. Luckily he coached for the Raiders. Only the Raiders would have a head coach beat up an assistant coach and keep his job. Only those same Raiders would have a coach lead them to their best record in 8 years and be fired in the off season. Such is the ballad of Tom Cable.

    It's still beyond me how a coach who mustered an 11-35 career record at Idaho managed to find himself at the helm of the Raiders but the lord, ahem Al Davis works in mysterious ways. Cable moved his way from Raiders offensive line coach to head coach in 2008 but his tenure was not without controversy.

    In a Raiders training camp in August, 2009 Cable allegedly punched assistant coach Randy Hanson in the face, fracturing his jaw. No charges were filed and no actions were taken by either the NFL or the Raiders. I guess Al Davis wants to make sure everyone is kept in line, and used Cable as his enforcer.

    Cable's loud boisterous personality made Davis the target of some of his many rants and raves and the it likely that those were a major factor in his departure in January 2011.

7. Ken Stabler

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    9 Dec 1979:  Quarterback Ken Stabler of the Oakland Raiders prepares to pass the ball during a game against the Cleveland Browns at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Raiders won the game 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /A
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Ken Stabler joined that Raiders in 1968 with minimal fanfare. It wasn't until a playoff game against the Steelers in 1972 that Stabler began to make his mark. After entering late in the game the quarterback scrambled 30 yards for a go ahead touchdown. The Raiders failed to win, after some random play that was later known as the Immaculate Reception. Okay so the Raiders aren't the most angelic of teams.

    Stabler seemed to take that sentiment into his Raiders career. Injuries forced Stabler to revert from a scrambling quarterback to a more traditional one using his accurate arm to lead the Raiders attack on the field. Off the field he was a student of the game, typically using his time in nightclubs to study the playbook as well as any adoring female fans. Because of his ability to slip in and out of tackles he became "affectionately" known as "the Snake" a moniker later adapted by pro wrestler Jake "the Snake" Roberts.

    Late in his career as a member of the Oilers, Stabler actually had a soft drink, Snake Venom sold in Houston. It tasted, according to Stabler "about like his name." I don't know if that is a good way or bad way to sell a soda. But only the Snake knows.

6. Bo Jackson

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 11:  Running back Bo Jackson #34 of the Los Angeles Raiders looks on during a game against the Green Bay Packers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 11, 1990 in Los Angeles, California.  The Packers won 29-16.  (Photo b
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Bo Jackson Knows. Bo Jackson knows how to play. Both baseball and football, amongst others.

    The two sport athlete attended college at Auburn university where he competed in track and field in addition to his exploits on the diamond and the gridiron. He was drafted by Royals in 1986 and the Raiders in 1987 where Al Davis had no qualms about sharing him with another franchise. While playing for the Royals he used to fire a crossbow in the club house prior to home games. For the Raiders he managed 2782 yards and 16 touchdowns. Sadly his Raider career ended abruptly in 1990 when an injury forced him to retire from the Raiders.

    His athleticism led him to the court where he played semi professional basketball for a Los Angeles area team while rehabbing for his baseball career. Jackson didn't let an injury keep him down as he managed to continue playing baseball for an additional four years before retiring.

     Besides playing baseball and football professionally Jackson became known nation wide for his series of ad campaigns that envisioned him playing a multitude of sports outside his areas of expertise such as tennis, golf, luge and ice hockey. He even wrote an autobiography "Bo Knows Bo." Don't we all? Don't we all know Bo? Or at least we wish we did.

5. Jack Tatum

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    The Raiders know a thing or two about drafting player with great nicknames. Jack Tatum, otherwise known as the Assassin was a three time Pro Bowler, and member of the Raiders during their defensive domination in the 70's.

    The origin of the nickname is disputed. Some say it began in college at Ohio State, others note his first professional game, where he managed to knock out Colts players John Mackey and Tom Mitchell. His most famous, or rather infamous "assassination" was in a preseason game in 1978 where a collision with Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, left Stingley paralyzed from the chest down for the remainder of his life.

    The dangers of football were exemplified when Tatum was playing, and he continued his hard hitting ways in the Raiders secondary through the 1979 season. Hard to argue against Tatum as the one of the toughest players in Raiders history.

4. Bill Romanowski

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 19:  Bill Romanowski #52 of the Oakland Raiders gestures after stopping the Tennessee Titans play, forcing the punt, during the AFC Championship game at Network Associates Coliseum on January 19, 2003 in Oakland, California.  The Rai
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Bill Romanowski was a two time Pro Bowler and four time Superbowl Champion. But no one really seems to remember that about Romo.

    He is probably most remembered for his numerous (that term doesn't do it justice) on field and off field incidents.To list a few:

    In 1995 as a member of the Eagles he kicked Larry Centers in the head. He spat in the face of JJ Stokes, threw a punch at Tony Gonzalez, and threw a football at the crotch of Brian Cox. His most infamous moment with the Raiders occurred at a practice in 2003 where he pulled off the helmet of teammate Marcus Williams and punched him in the face, crushing his eye socket.

    His defense, he was suffering with from Roid rage.

    That incident got Romanowski embroiled in BALCO scandal, where he was accused of and admitted to using steroids provided by Victor Conte.

    Don't worry, you can still see Romo and all his antics on television in the Bay Area, peddling nutritional supplements for a company he founded.

3. Al Davis

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    13 Oct 1996:  Owner and President Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders stands in attentio as he salutes the American Flag during the singing of the National Anthem before the Raiders 37-21 victory over the Lions at Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Californi
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    How is Al Davis not higher? Its the Raiders.

    Davis became the Raiders coach and general manager at the young age of 33 in 1962 it only took him ten years to find a way to own the team .Since he assumed ownership, Davis has attempted litigation against nearly every football related entity and city including Los Angeles,  Oakland, Irwindale and the NFL itself.  He sued to move the Raiders to LA and sued to move them back. He even sided with the USFL's antitrust suit against the NFL, the only owner to do so. Suffice it to say, Davis likes the courts system.

    Everyone knows of his ADD like dismissal of numerous coaches over the past decade. And his facination with combine studs, ahem DHB. His refusal to retire until he wins two Superbowl's or dies.

    So much could be said about Davis but I believe this classy picture says it all. Also where can I get one of the those snazzy track suits?

2. John Madden

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Former Head Coach John Madden of the Oakland Raiders is presented with his Hall of Fame Ring during a ceremony to honor his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame before the game against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    How is he not number one? Keep reading.

    John Madden is best remembered as a football personality but he was great coach while maintaining his unique idiosyncrasies

    Madden was drafted as a player in 1958 in the 21st round (they had that many then?). But injuries forced him to retire before he ever played a game. He joined the Raiders in 1967 as linebackers coach and became the youngest professional head coach in 1969. He won Superbowl XI as the Raiders head coach.

    He has a notable fear of flying and during his broadcast career would travel the country in a specially modified bus for his comfort. Always known for his gift of gab both on TV and off, he was known to spend a great deal of time in his apartment building's boiler room talking football with the service staff.

    The undeniable mouth of the NFL Madden unique style of commenting using words like "Boom" and "Doink" have made him a target of both criticism and admiration around the world.

1. Raider Nation

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Fans of the Oakland Raiders cheer during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 24-23.   (Photo by Christ
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Any team with fans like these has a lot characters. The name seems to be derived from the Bay Area fans would would commute to LA during the Raiders' Los Angeles years.

    Is there really anything else that need be said?